Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dick Cheney Lectures Congress at AIPAC Conference

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There is so much in Dick Cheney's speech to AIPAC yesterday to outrage and infuriate anyone with a working heart and mind. Take this, for example: "It's odd to think of ideologues out of the Dark Ages having a modern media strategy, but the fact is they do."

Can't be that odd a thought. Ideologues out of the Dark Ages with modern media strategies helped get George W. Bush elected, and Grateful George just loves to pander to their wish list.

You want to talk ideologues? The Bush administration is arguably the most ideological presidency in U.S. history. In fact, ideologues are such an accepted part of the Bush administration that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff feels totally comfortable telling the world that homosexuality is immoral, while simultaneously standing up for a policy that tells gay and lesbian military personnel to hide and lie about their supposed "immorality" so they can "serve their country" without risking prosecution and expulsion from the military! How perverted is that?

If Dick Cheney is so concerned about the dangers of "ideologues out of the Dark Ages," he doesn't have to go halfway around the world to find them. In fact, he doesn't have to look any further than the Pentagon.

What would the reaction be in the U.S. to an Islamist who made comments like these?

Gen Boykin has repeatedly told Christian groups and prayer meetings that President George W Bush was chosen by God to lead the global fight against Satan.

He told one gathering: "Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. He's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."

In January, he told Baptists in Florida about a victory over a Muslim warlord in Somalia, who had boasted that Allah would protect him from American capture. "I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real god and his was an idol," Gen Boykin said.

He also emerged from the conflict with a photograph of the Somalian capital Mogadishu bearing a strange dark mark. He has said this showed "the principalities of darkness. . . a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy".

I think we know. But when an American Christian ideologue says such things, a leading conservative publication asks, "What did Gen. Boykin say that was so offensive?"

Religious intolerance is flatly un-American. So let's everybody just get off the back of Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin.

Boykin, of course, is the decorated veteran of special operations who is now in charge of the search for uber-terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. A practicing Christian, he recently spoke to some church groups about the work he does. Not surprisingly, he stressed religious themes.
But did Boykin actually say anything that should offend Muslims? Was he even talking about Islam — or was he speaking of terrorists who claim to act in the name of Islam? And can we not yet perceive that there is a huge difference between the two?

Start with the remark that has drawn the most ire: Boykin's reference to a "spiritual enemy...called Satan." The Washington Post suggested that reference was "inflammatory, if not illegal."

How do they figure? Boykin was clearly speaking here about mass murderers such as bin Laden. If they are not evil, then there is no such thing as evil. But if they are evil, it can hardly be outrageous to describe a war against such evil as a struggle against a "spiritual enemy." Isn't that what evil is?

As for Satan, he is the personification of evil. What's the charge, here, officer? Reckless anthropomorphism?

In fact, can't we agree that suicide terrorists who kill in the name of a jihad against infidels are — by their own definition — spiritual enemies not just of Christians and Jews but equally of moderate Muslims? [Emphasis added.]

There you go. Killing in the name of a "jihad" (or "spiritual struggle," which is what "jihad" means, in general terms) against "infidels" is evil; killing in the name of a "spiritual struggle" in the "global fight against Satan" is perfectly reasonable.

But I digress. If you want a pithier response to Dick Cheney's address at the AIPAC convention, treat yourself to this video of Max Cleland asking Cheney to come back when he can tell us where the hell he was during the Vietnam war, and why the hell we should listen to a man with five draft deferments who doesn't have a clue about how to fight a war.

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